Now *this* is brave
Right wingers (and some others) are always claiming that Islam is to blame for all the violence in the middle east and elsewhere. And, to be sure, many of these terrorists and extremists think they are following some pre-modern religious instruction. But this is really about human beings, regardless of their religion. And here you see the reality of it played out on that bloody beach in Tunisia:
Images obtained by Sky News showed gunman Seifeddine Rezgui shortly after he began shooting, walking through the surf at Sousse with a Kalashnikov rifle at his side.
Some have been critical of the men shown standing on the beach behind the gunman, described as “horrified onlookers” by the Mail Online, with one commentator saying: “I count nine men standing or walking behind him why didn’t they all attack him?”
But John Yeoman, who was on holiday with his wife at a neighbouring resort when the shooting began, tweeted: “Those in the background formed a human shield to protect another hotel. they are not watching they saved many lives.”
When they flew into Manchester to be repatriated, Mr Yeoman's wife met another holidaymaker who had been on the beach during the shootings.
This man told her that he and his girlfriend were on the beach on Friday when the attack started. A hotel chef came running towards them, telling them to run for their lives.
“He was the one who told them that the line of people they could see ahead of them were staff from the hotel,” Mrs Yeoman said.
“He said to this couple that they were telling the gunman ‘you’ll have to get past us and we’re Muslims’. Obviously I don’t know the exact words but that was pretty much what they were saying.
“They’d actually made a human barricade – ‘you’re not going to get past us, you’ll have to kill us.’"
She said when she then saw the picture in media reports, it seemed obvious that the photographer had captured the moment described by the other holidaymaker.
Mrs Yeoman said the extreme bravery of the staff “makes you have a little more faith in humanity” and disproves any suggestion that Muslims are all violent extremists.
“Everyone seems to think ‘it’s the Muslims, it’s the Muslims’, but it is not, it is not their way,” she said. “There are no words to express how grateful we are to them [the staff].”
Another Briton, Ian Symes, wrote to Mr Yeoman: “I’m with you - was on beach at Palm marina - whilst we were running to hide, hotel staff were running out to help, very brave.”
Now the gun nuts would say they should have all been armed and run out onto the beach spraying bullets. And maybe they would have succeeded in bringing the guy down before he had a chance to hit so many people. Or maybe not. Maybe they would have hit some people themselves. Or each other. More guns, more bullets.
But one thing we do know is that this guy had a gun and regardless of whether or not others had been armed, his determination to kill people meant that some number of people would be killed. Gun proliferation advocates are fine with that. They believe guns are wonderful tools and toys at best and at worst just part of nature, something that exists and which we must embrace lest someone else use them against us. Some of the rest of us think that such lethal weapons are a man-made catastrophe.
But regardless of all that, I think we should all be able to agree that those who formed a human shield to stop that homicidal maniac are indeed very, very brave.